6/21/16

Benjamin Franklin's Daily Routine: What Good Will You Do Today?

There's much to be discovered in how to live a productive life, making the most of your day, in Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography.  

You can read it here at Gutenberg.org (or download it in several different formats, including Kindle).

It's in the public domain.

1.  Benjamin Franklin's Morning Prayer

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First off, Ben Franklin prayed.  Franklin wrote (p. 148):

And conceiving God to be the fountain of wisdom, I thought it right and necessary to solicit his assistance for obtaining it; to this end I formed the following little prayer, which was prefix'd to my tables of examination, for daily use.

"O powerful Goodness! bountiful Father! merciful Guide! increase in me that wisdom which discovers my truest interest! strengthen my resolutions to perform what that wisdom dictates. Accept my kind offices to thy other children as the only return in my power for thy continual favors to me."

I used also sometimes a little prayer which I took from Thomson's
Poems, viz.:

          "Father of light and life, thou Good Supreme!
          O teach me what is good; teach me Thyself!
          Save me from folly, vanity, and vice,
          From every low pursuit; and fill my soul
          With knowledge, conscious peace, and virtue pure;
          Sacred, substantial, never-fading bliss!"

2. Benjamin Franklin's Daily Routine or "Scheme"


You can find the daily routine he created for himself on page 148 as well.  Here it is (click on the image once to see a larger and easier-to-read version):



I love this "scheme."  I like how he wrote his own prayer to start the day, and how his question to himself is "what good shall I do this day?"

What good shall I do today?  What good are you going to accomplish today?

2/8/16

Telling a Story to Boost SEO? Trend for 2016 Promotes Storytelling in Web Content

One of the new marketing trends, according to people who should know like IBM’s Sandy Carter (watch her in the video, below), is story-telling in your web content. Writing a blog post? Tell a story. Have something to report on Facebook or in Google Plus? Don’t just give facts; tell a story that explains your data.




Storytelling in Your Web Content


Why? Not only is a story more approachable for most folk, storytelling has been shown scientifically to be a better way of conveying a message. The human brain likes it. For details on all that science stuff, read the article over at SEOPressor. (They’ve even got a video with brain scans that uses terminology like “neurochemistry.”)

Who is Your Intended Reader? That’s Your First Question 


Of course, one of the keys here is understanding your INTENDED READER.

Envision that person, or that group: to whom are you telling this story? If you don’t know who that is, then get busy.

It’s important not only for things like writing at the proper reading level and with an accurate understanding of their wants and needs, it’s also respectful of who your readers are and why they should spend any of their valuable time on you.

Respect your reader enough to know who they are — if you’re writing to engage someone. Unless you’re writing an online diary, this is critical. (Sorry if I’m sounding a little frustrated here: it’s because I am. Disrespecting the reader really, really bugs me and it happens way too often, IMHO.) 

Example of Good Storytelling in a Marketing Effort: Angie’s List Story on Indiana Explosion Aftermath 


What the heck is this storytelling approach, anyway? Got an example for you.

Read “Finding Normal After the Disaster: Richmond Hill Family Refuses to Let Blast Drive Them Away,” by Lisa Renze-Rhodes, published on October 1, 2013 on Angieslist.com.

You know Angie’s List, right? It’s a membership site which vets service companies for its members. 

This article reports on a huge tragedy that happened in the Richmond Hill community of Indianapolis, Indiana. It’s a compassionate and informative article that manages to include links to vetted contractors on Angie’s List.

Reading it, I don’t get the feel that I’m being manipulated at all here to become a member of Angie’s List. As I read, I’m getting detailed information on how these people rallied after this huge explosion and fire hit their neighborhood, killing several people and injuring dozens more.

It’s good story-telling.

And it’s good marketing, because even now, when I think about house fires or explosions, or read about a new arson case, I think back to this story from Angie’s List. And I recall that it originated at the Angie’s List website.

Which means that one day, maybe I will become an active member of that site. So, good job, Angie’s List.

Tips and Tricks for Storytelling in Your Web Content 


For more on storytelling and other search engine optimization (SEO) marketing trends for 2016, watch this video of IBM’s General Manager and “Social Business Evangelist,” Sandy Carter. There’s also a list of good tips to follow at SEORoadMap. 
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1/9/16

Productivity Tip: Have a Monkey Week

Two months ago, I started a new way of handling my monthly calendar that worked well over the holidays and I thought I'd share it with you, Dear Reader.

(That link reveals my Franklin Covey planner, I've used one of their planners for years.  Along with my online calendar. I like having stuff online, but I can't give up the paper and pen.  It's too much fun.)

Monthly Scheduling Time Tip




The tip?  It's my Monkey Week.

I schedule things that I have to do during the month for the first three weeks, leaving that last week of the month blank.

Everything that has to be done gets stuck somewhere.  This can can be anything, from a work project (e.g., revised outline to client) to getting an oil change for the car.

But nothing gets stuck into that last week.  Nothing.  It's pure.  That block on the calendar has nothing entered into it.  Zip. De Nada.

Then, when that last week hits -- whammo!  I have a week to get all the month's tasks finished before month end.

If I am swinging around from tree to tree like a monkey because I've procrastinated during the first three weeks (or I was sick, or I got bogged down in client emergencies, or I fell behind binge-watching Major Crimes) then so be it.

And I did.  Monkey-crazy in both in November and in December.  (Though it got better.)

Fresh Start in the New Month Feels Great


Here's the thing, though:  this means that I have hit two months without that burden of knowing I've got stuff on my plate from the prior month that still has to be done.

In my little Reba World, that has been an amazing feeling.  I like it.

So, I'm going to keep having my Monkey Week each month in 2016.  And I'm looking forward to discovering what the heck I will do with myself if I hit that last week, and I don't have a bunch of stuff to do because I already got it done.  Wowzer, that's gonna be great.

Maybe this will work for you too, if you tend to procrastinate like me.